There is no doubt that adopting a pet as a permanent member of your family can be one of the best experiences of your life. But what about all the pets that don’t have homes yet? As wonderful as it can be to adopt a dog or cat, pet fostering can be very rewarding. People who do things like provide foster homes or adopt senior pets can do a lot to help animals that need it most–and who knows, a “foster fail” could lead to you finding a new forever companion.
Animal shelters often do not have enough space for all of the pets that need homes. They also may have pets that won’t do well in the shelter environment. By choosing to become a pet foster parent, you can provide a temporary home for an animal in need. This not only helps by opening space in the shelter for other pets, but it is also a vital part of preparing these animals for adoption.
As enjoyable as pet fostering can be, it is not a decision you want to take lightly. Taking the time to consider the decision is in the best interests of both you and the animal. In this post, we are going to provide a guide on how to foster pets.
Discuss it With Your Family
This will be an important step for any person who shares their home with other people. If you do live alone, you can skip to the next section.
Talk to your family or anyone else in your home about the possibility of pet foster care. You want to make sure everyone is on board and that you are all ready to commit to the responsibility. You should also make it clear that you are talking about fostering a pet, not adopting. If you are a renter, you might want to check your lease for what it says about pets or have a conversation with the property manager before moving forward.
Learn About Foster Programs in Your Area
Spend a little time learning about pet fostering organizations in your area. Make sure they have a good reputation and try to find out details about the process. Beyond that, you should also consider the requirements the organization has for pet foster parents. Most organizations will have a screening process to make sure they are sending the pet to a good home with people who will provide the care it needs.
Assess Your Capabilities
Every pet fostering situation is different. The animals are different and the people who choose to foster a pet may have different capabilities. A good foster organization will do some work to match you with the right pet, but you should also do your part to figure out what is right for you.
Consider how much space you have for a pet. Would you prefer to foster a dog or a cat? How much experience do you have caring for pets? Do you already have pets in your home? If so, how well do they do with other animals? Do you have a busy life that keeps you away from home? Do you have the ability to take on multiple foster pets? Would you be able to take on pets with special needs?
Avoid Foster Failure
A “foster failure” is the term used to describe when a family gets too attached to their foster pet and finds it difficult to let go once they find a permanent home. While it is technically a “failure” because fostering pets is meant to be temporary; it could also be a success if the animal finds a loving, forever home. If this is not the case, and you’re only equipped to keep an animal temporarily, consider managing your expectations and being honest with yourself. You can also stay active in the adoption process, meeting and talking to potential adopters.
Fostering pets is not without its challenges. It involves commitments and responsibilities, but the most rewarding part is when the foster pet finally finds a fur-ever home. What makes a foster parent successful is being able to offer animals a loving and safe temporary space, and then being able to take on the next animal in need once they leave.
Understand the Obligations
Providing temporary pet foster care can mean different things in different situations. Some organizations might have strict rules they expect people to follow. There may also be questions concerning things like pet supplies and medical care. Most organizations will at least cover some of the supplies and medical care, but that might not always be the case. Pet fosters should make sure they have a thorough understanding of the commitment before they agree to take an animal home.
Prepare Your Home
Once you have been approved and are ready to foster a pet, you are going to want to prepare your home. The steps for preparing can vary depending on the animal and your family. To start, you will want to make sure you have all the pet supplies you may need. You might also need to pet-proof different areas of the home.
Beyond preparing the home, you might need to prepare yourself and your family. As an example, you might need to start planning a schedule for walking and feeding a dog. You should also prepare other people and animals for the arrival of the foster pet. Be ready to give the animal a little space as it adjusts to new surroundings. If you have pets, make sure to introduce them slowly and in a situation that is under your control.
It might be a big responsibility, but providing an animal with a temporary home is one of the most generous things you can do. Even if foster pets are not yours to keep, that temporary care goes a long way toward helping the animal find a forever home. Along with that, you are saving lives by helping the shelter system serve more animals.